Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving 1 Palestinian dead. The IDF shells a Force 17 post nr. Netzarim settlement, killing 1 Force 17 mbr., wounding 3. Claiming retaliation, Hamas's Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigades fires mortars at Jewish settlements in Gaza today, causing no injuries. The IDF also bulldozes 3 dunams of Palestinian land nr. Kissufim settlement in Dayr al-Balah; begin work on a new settler bypass road to Talamon settlement nr. Ramallah, bulldozing Waqf land. Jewish settlers bulldoze an olive grove in Nazla. (WT 3/23; LAW 3/24)

In New York, Sharon warns UN Secy.-Gen Kofi Annan that sending a UN observer force to the West Bank, Gaza could escalate violence. Annan urges Israel to ease restrictions on Palestinians, halt settlement expansion. (MM 3/21; MM, WT 3/22; MM 3/27)

Bush ends the CIA's role as security mediator btwn. Israel and the PA, saying the sides should cooperate directly. (NYT, WP 3/22; HA 3/23; WJW 3/29) (see Peace Monitor)

The Mitchell Comm. begins a 5-day visit to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza to meet with Palestinian community representatives, Israeli intelligence analysts, doctors, peace negotiators, politicians, statisticians. (NYT, WJW, WT 3/22; WT 3/23; NYT 3/26; ATL 3/26 in WNC 3/27; MM 3/27)